orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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February 4, 2011

Russian uproar over adopted boy's punishment in US

(Continued)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska —

Yevgeniy Khorishko, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., said his office is following the case, which has prompted many reactions in his country.

Russia and U.S. officials are concluding work on a new, binding agreement to cover adoptions between the two countries. Russia demanded such an agreement after a Tennessee adoptive mother put her 7-year-old boy on a plane back to Moscow last year, unaccompanied by an adult.

There also have been instances of severe mistreatment by American parents, Khorishko said.

"There were several cases in recent years with adopted Russian children, including the deaths, beatings and cruel attitude of the parents toward these children," he said. "We actually questioned many times our American counterparts on these issues, and we both understood that we actually need an agreement."

An estimated 17 adopted Russian children have died in instances of domestic violence in American families since 1992, according to Pavel Astakhov, Russia's government-appointed children's rights ombudsman. His office also is monitoring the Beagley case.

"Theoretically, we don't rule out that we could insist on the return of the boy to Russia. But at this point we're not going to," Astakhov said. He suggested that could happen if the family is shown to be unfit to raise him, but he added it's too early to draw that conclusion.

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